The Baby’s Homecoming
Even though I had a c-section, I was released from the hospital less than 48 hours postpartum. I was showing signs of a quick recovery and the baby passed all of his required tests. And I wanted to be home with my toddler as I hadn’t been away from her this long before – especially overnight.
The drive home from the hospital was a smooth one. The baby slept the entire way and my husband drove slow to minimize all of the bumps in the road. I was still on pain medication so I was still somewhat numb, but at the same time, still in significant pain. If you have had a belly birth you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you can imagine.
We picked up our daughter from her best friend’s house before going home. Apparently, once she knew we were on our way, she sat by the front window looking and waiting for us until we arrived. She was so excited to see us and I cried as soon as I saw her walking to the car because I had missed her so much. I had never been away from her as long as I had been while I was at the hospital. As she approached the car I noticed she was carrying a poster-sized piece of paper and had a proud look on her face. I soon found out that she had made her baby brother a “Welcome Home” sign. It just about melted my heart and I plan to have it framed for his nursery.
Week 1: The Recovery
I’m not sure what I imagined, envisioned or expected, but once we arrived home things didn’t go exactly as planned. My husband set up a space for me on the couch downstairs with pillows, blankets, a diaper changing station, snacks, water, meds, etc while he went out to pick up our dogs from a local pet hotel and get my pain medication from a local pharmacy. I felt a little helpless while he was gone. I was basically bedridden and could barely move while I was alone taking care of a newborn and a toddler. I couldn’t really hold either of them due to my pain level due to the surgery and it was challenging to keep it together emotionally. My hormones were somewhat to blame I’m sure, but it was also a new reality that was difficult to prepare for even though I tried to the whole time I was pregnant. It is always a little different when it actually happens, am I right? My husband soon came home but everything felt different and new. Our family had grown just like that and it was that night that I realized things had changed and adjusting wasn’t going to happen overnight.
The next morning, my daughter and husband came down with a cold. Luckily they had no fever and no other major symptoms. But nonetheless, they had a cold. My husband was old enough to understand why he had to keep his distance, but not only was my daughter not feeling well, we had her keep her distance from her brother so she wouldn’t spread her germs on a baby less than a week old. This was very hard for a three year-old to comprehend. And her reaction to this distance broke my heart. I knew this week more than anytime in her life so far, she needed love, attention, and reassurance, and instead she was miserable and emotionally struggling with her new role as a big sister. To top it off, she couldn’t go too close to her brother or her mom because I was still mostly immobile and in pain. Luckily my husband was home the entire week from work and was an incredible help taking care of all of us, despite the fact that he was not feeling well.
I slept downstairs on the couch for the first few nights with the baby by my side. My husband and daughter slept in the guest room down the hall in case I needed help in the middle of the night. It was great to be in one main spot for my recovery and to just rest and not travel up and down the stairs, but it was a little lonely and discouraging at times since I am so used to moving at my leisure and taking care of things I had to wait on others for instead. By the fourth night home, I was off of my pain meds and was able to walk up the stairs at night and sleep in the nursery on the recliner chair since I still couldn’t lay down in bed yet. Plus the other half of my family was still recovering from their colds and we thought it was best to stay in different rooms for a few more nights.
By the end of the week, we made our first family outing to the pediatrician for baby boy’s first well check visit. He had gained 5 ounces since leaving the hospital and was healthy otherwise! The next few nights I became more mobile and was more functional in minor tasks. This came in handy because my husband went back to work the Monday after we arrived home.
Week 2: The Survival
I have to admit; this second week home was solely about survival. I could do the bare minimum as I was still in recovery mode and I am not proud of how much television we watched or the quick meals I prepared as we ate a lot of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets on paper plates. Plus, in addition to taking care of myself and my toddler, I was at the beck and call of a newborn that needed constant diaper changes and wanted to be fed at a moment’s notice. Luckily he was sleeping a lot, which I was so thankful for at this point in my recovery.
At this point, walking or standing for too long was difficult so I hadn’t been able to cook or do the dishes. The first day was a little challenging but I was able to make cookies with my daughter and watch movies all day. The second day home alone was not as easy. Some of my pain had returned because I must have over exerted myself the day before and I just felt very emotional and overwhelmed. My doula came over for a little company and brought us breakfast and then even helped clean the house and made us lunch before leaving.
Although my recovery had been swiftly improving, emotionally it was a tough week. I still couldn’t walk much or do much else like pick up anything over 20 pounds, reach for anything high, drive, walk up and down the stairs too much, cook or clean. When you are limited and by yourself with no one but an active toddler and a newborn not much gets done and you all start getting a little cabin fever. We have all been learning and growing as a family and we have all been adjusting in our own way. I expected my hormones to be more extreme than usual and have cried this week over the smallest things to feeling like my children are growing too fast to mourning the relationship I had with my daughter before her brother was born. I know in time we will all adapt to a new normal.
Week 3: The Adjustment
My goal has been to get better physically first and foremost. If mama is out of commission than nothing is working the way it usually does. This week, my plan was to get my daughter back to her normal, familiar schedule, which included dance class, church group, toddler book club, etc. I wanted her world to stay as consistent as possible.
I was able to drive this week to various local places for mandatory classes, commitments, and appointments but still hadn’t ventured to go on an actual errand electively with my new crew. I was able to attend a local blogger event I was invited to and also drove to my doctor’s for my three week well check visit. He was able to look at my incision and my stitches and tell me everything looked great! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful doctor/surgeon. My tiny scar is even starting to fade already. I am so fortunate not to have any signs of an infection or any other complications. The nurse even said that I had lost roughly 20-25 pounds already. Let me note that I am in no rush to get rid of the weight I gained from the pregnancy, however, I do want to stay fit, active, and healthy, so I will be starting a new weekly segment after my six week well check visit with my doctor where I will be tracking my exercise and my body’s transformation. I still have another 20-25 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-birth weight. My husband bought me a Fitbit Flex 2 for Christmas so I’ll have some extra fun support to help me in this process, too!
Week 4: The New Normal
I have felt almost completely back to normal this past week. I have been making dinner, doing the dishes, and going on walks around the neighborhood. We are watching less television, we are eating healthier, and we are getting into a new daily routine. I have also been able to bake and do crafts with my daughter and also keep up with my part-time job from home so I didn’t have to take a maternity leave and lose any income. And my husband is happy because he was doing his day job as well as everything I do at night and he was feeing the heat. He admitted for the first time how much I did around the house that he never realized. He asked me how I even did it all. Finally he had a taste for what I do as a full-time work from home mom!
I have been very blessed for my family and friends and especially my husband and my children. I am very fortunate to be having a quick recovery and even though we hit a few bumps in the road, we are getting through it together as a family. My heart is very full and I can’t wait to see how we grow together.
And today my son is one month old. He loves to smile and loves driving in the car. We went on our first elective outing to the farm today. We fed the chickens, ducks, and goats and walked around in the fresh air. I can’t believe it has already been one month. So much has changed and we are finally finding our stride. Big sister is very loving and helpful and couldn’t be happier her baby brother is here. I almost feel 100% back to normal physically and emotionally. And baby boy has a regular nap and sleep routine (and it mimics the time he was in my tummy). Some days are more challenging than others, but overall I’m learning a lot about being a mom of two children and am enjoying it more than I ever imagined. It’s funny to think of myself a month ago in the hospital holding my baby on his birthday for the first time. It seems like yesterday yet it seems like a long lost memory at the same time. This past month has been a bit of a blur and time has just faded as day and night seem to be the same. I haven’t gotten more than 3 hours of sleep at one time but somehow I have a lot of energy (and I don’t drink coffee!).
One month ago I couldn’t get out of bed and couldn’t even change my son’s diaper for about a week after his birth. It took a nurse’s assistance to walk, go to the bathroom, and change my clothes. Taking a shower was a huge accomplishment. And now I almost take those things for granted, yet I don’t because I know what it was like not to be able to do those things just a short time ago. A healing body is miraculous. Any mom that has carried and birthed a baby is miraculous. It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of, isn’t it? And if it wasn’t for modern medicine, my baby and me may not be here today, so I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have my babies. Having two children is definitely different than having one child. Multitasking has a whole new meaning. The second time is different – but that is another blog for another time.
As for now, things are starting to finally feel normal again, except this time we have a new normal. Stay tuned for more adventures!
Boobie Bar Lactation Bars
In the meantime, if you don’t already know, I am exclusively breastfeeding my son and during the last month I have been doing everything I can to keep my milk supply at an optimum level. I have been drinking a ton of water and eating oatmeal, flax seed and hemp seed, drinking lactation tea, eating lactation cookies, and also eating my new favorite snack – gluten free peanut butter lactation bars from Boobie Bar. And right now you can get an entire box of these bars for $12.99 while supplies last. Sign up for their newsletter and also receive 10% off! Go to https://www.getboobiebars.com to buy your own. They also sell oatmeal chocolate chip and blueberry coconut flavors.
Did you know that one Boobie Bar has your daily dose of milk-boosting herbs? And they are so easy to put in your diaper bag and take on the go. Plus they are delicious, nutritious, and filling for a hearty snack and as a nursing mom, you know that is vital. I love that this company is local and also ran by founder Nurse Wendy, RN, IBCLC, a board certified lactation consultant. To learn more about Nurse Wendy click here https://www.getboobiebars.com/pages/our-story You can also find these bars at Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us stores nationwide.
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